Trio try to illegally sell paua in Whangarei

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Three men trying to illegally sell paua to the public are now wanted by fisheries officials.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is appealing for public assistance to find men after reports that early on March 4, a member of the public was offered paua by three men.

They were all believed to be Maori and aged between 35 and 40 years.

The trio were driving a maroon or brown 1996 Toyota Camry registration UD6732.

When located on Riverside Drive by Fishery Officers the men failed to stop and the vehicle was last seen on Hatea Drive.

Investigations have revealed that the men attempted to sell paua to a number of bakeries and takeaway outlets in the Whangarei area that morning.

The public are reminded fish can only be purchased from legitimate commercial premises or a commercial fisherman.

Purchasing illegal fish is a serious offence with fines of up to $250,000 and the seizure of property used in the commission of the offence.

Darren Edwards, Northland District Compliance Manager, said it was important the three men were identified and spoken to.

"The assistance of the public by reporting suspicious or illegal activity to Fishery Officers is a key element in protecting New Zealand's fishery and ensures its sustainability for future generations," Mr Edwards said.

If you were approached by these men on Monday morning or have any information that may assist the Ministry for Primary Industries please contact Fishery Officer Deane Walford on 09 4700 580.

If Northlanders see any unlawful activity (including suspected poaching and / or offering seafood for sale on the black-market) phone the Ministry's freephone hotline: 0800 4 POACHER (0800 4 76224) in confidence.

You can also take advantage of the free mobile services. Text 'app' to 9889 to download the New Zealand fishing rules smartphone app. Or text the name of the species you are fishing for (e.g. crayfish, paua) to 9889 and you will receive the size and limit number by return text. Texts are free.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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